Zachary T. Sampson, Times Staff

Zachary T. Sampson

Times Staff

I'm a general assignment reporter, which means I cover pretty much anything depending on the day. Think of me like a super utility player. Local, state, national, crime, weather, politics, and so on. I'm fascinated by where we're from -- how places shape us and how we shape them. I aim to tell stories that matter to you now, or will, or should. One day that might involve a police horse that paints, another how county officials spend your tax dollars. I'm from Rhode Island and will talk to you about it. I've coached youth baseball -- yes, the loud one. Okay, maybe I was checking the score on my phone under the table. I'm sorry. Call me with anything. I'm friendlier than my face suggests.

Driver in deadly St. Pete stolen car crash faces new charge

Carl McKinley, 20, faces charges including vehicular homicide and grand theft auto in connection with a fatal Nov. 24 crash, according to St. Petersburg police. [Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office]
Carl McKinley, 20, is accused of vehicular homicide. Yalanda Speights, 46, was killed in the crash.

St. Petersburg woman killed in stolen car crash was soft-spoken artist, family says

Mae Speights, 67, holds a photo of her daughter, Yalanda, who died from a stolen car crash.
Yalanda Speights, 46, expressed herself through art. She died Saturday, one week after being hurt when four men crashed into her mother's car in a stolen vehicle.

Will prosecutors lose a key witness in the John Jonchuck case? Defense attorneys say they should.
A psychiatrist is at the center of the latest delay in the John Jonchuck trial. Lawyers say she has troubled them before.

Hurricane Michael destroyed their home. So they got married on the slab.

Brittany and Ben Parham were married Saturday in Mexico Beach, on the slab of their former home. She’s a police officer and he’s a firefighter. That’s the home where they fell in love, and even though Hurricane Michael destroyed it, that’s where they want to get married. (Photo courtesy Cristy Nielsen)
Michael destroyed their Mexico Beach home. But that’s where Officer Brittany and Firefighter Ben fell in love, so they got married where it once stood.

John Jonchuck says 'voices' drove him to drop daughter from bridge

Phoebe Jonchuck rests at her grave within Tampa’s Lake Carroll Cemetery. On Jan 7, 2015, a police officer watched as her father, John Jonchuck, tossed her off the side of the Dick Misener Bridge in St. Petersburg, Fla., 62 feet above Tampa Bay. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]
For the first time, new court files reveal what John Jonchuck told a doctor about what urged him to kill Phoebe.